As we take this spiritual journey as a church, we encourage you to commit to a personal fast. Fasting is the one discipline Jesus promised would bring about supernatural results Check out the information below for tips on how to fast!
What Is A Fast?
This fast is an opportunity for authentic worship as you allow God to call out His best for your life. It is a time when spiritual nourishment replaces physical nourishment. We substitute prayer for food. In doing so, we build a closer relationship with God. Preparation for ministry is the focus of fasting in the New Testament. This shows us that the focus of our fasting should not be ourselves, but ministry to others.
Why should I fast?
There are many reasons people fast. Some individuals fast for wisdom and power, while others were repenting of their sin
Many people in the Old Testament fasted when they had a special need or an emergency. David fasted when his son was sick (II Samuel 12:16-23). Esther fasted before she told King Xerxes about a plot to destroy the Jews (Esther 4:16). Jehoshaphat fasted before he went into battle against the Moabites and Ammonites.
Fasting was often a sign of mourning or repentance. David fasted after the Philistines defeated the Israelites and killed Saul and Jonathan (I Samuel 31:13). Nehemiah and Daniel fasted for the sins of their countrymen (Nehemiah 1:4; Daniel 9:3). The king of Nineveh commanded all the Ninevites to fast in repentance for their sin (Jonah 3:5-10).
Some fasted to receive revelation or direction from God. Moses fasted before he received God’s law on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 34:28). Daniel fasted before he received a vision (Daniel 10:2-3). In Acts, church leaders fasted to know God’s direction in ministry (Acts 13:2-3, 14:23).
Isaiah prophesied that God wanted His people to fast for the poor and oppressed (Isaiah 58:3-14). Along with Jeremiah and Zechariah (Jeremiah 14:10; Zechariah 7:3-10), Isaiah prophesied that God would reject a fast that was only ritual and not accompanied by action that would lead to justice for the poor.
HELPFUL STEPS FOR FASTING
Below are some helpful steps to get you started on your fast.
STEP 1: SET YOUR OBJECTIVE
Why are you fasting? Is it for spiritual renewal, for guidance, for healing, for the resolution of problems, for special grace to handle a difficult situation? Ask the Holy Spirit to clarify His leading and objectives for your fast. This will enable you to pray more specifically and strategically.
Through fasting and prayer, we humble ourselves before God so the Holy Spirit will stir our souls, awaken our churches, and heal our land according to 2 Chronicles 7:14.
STEP 2: MAKE YOUR COMMITMENT
Pray about the kind of fast you should undertake. Jesus implied that all of His followers should fast (Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14,15). For Him it was a matter of when believers would fast, not if they would do it. Before you fast, decide the following up front:
How long you will fast - one meal, one day, a week, several weeks, forty days (beginners should start slowly, building up to longer fasts)
The type of fast God wants you to undertake (such as water only, or water and juices; what kinds of juices you will drink and how often)
What physical or social activities you will restrict
How much time each day you will devote to prayer and God’s Word
Making these commitments ahead of time will help you sustain your fast when physical temptations and life’s pressures tempt you to abandon it.
STEP 3: PREPARE YOURSELF SPIRITUALLY
The very foundation of fasting and prayer is repentance. Unconfessed sin will hinder your prayers. Here are several things you can do to prepare your heart:
Ask God to help you make a comprehensive list of your sins.
Confess every sin that the Holy Spirit calls to your remembrance and accept God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
Make restitution as the Holy Spirit leads you.
Begin your time of fasting and prayer with an expectant heart (Hebrews 11:6).
STEP 4: PREPARE YOURSELF PHYSICALLY
Fasting requires reasonable precautions. Consult your physician first, especially if you take prescription medication or have a chronic ailment. Some people should never fast without professional supervision.
Physical preparation makes the drastic change in your eating routine a little easier so that you can turn your full attention to the Lord in prayer.
Do not rush into your fast.
Prepare your body. Eat smaller meals before starting a fast.
Eat raw fruit and vegetables for two days before starting a fast.
Your time of fasting and prayer has come. Here are some helpful suggestions to consider:
Medication should be withdrawn only with your physician’s supervision.
Limit your activity.
Exercise only moderately.
Rest as much as your schedule will permit.
Prepare yourself for temporary mental discomforts, such as impatience, crankiness, and anxiety.
Expect some physical discomforts, especially on the second day. Withdrawal from caffeine and sugar may cause headaches. Physical annoyances may also include weakness, tiredness, or sleeplessness.
The first two or three days are usually the hardest. As you continue to fast, you will likely experience a sense of well-being both physically and spiritually. However, should you feel hunger pains, increase your liquid intake.
STEP 5: PUT YOURSELF ON A SCHEDULE
For maximum spiritual benefit, set aside ample time to be alone with the Lord. Listen for His leading. The more time you spend with Him, the more meaningful your fast will be.
Begin your day in praise and worship.
Read and meditate on God’s Word.
Invite the Holy Spirit to work in you to will and to do His good pleasure according to Philippians 2:13.
Invite God to use you. Ask Him to show you how to influence your world, your family, your church, your community, your country, and beyond.
Pray for His vision for your life and empowerment to do His will.
Return to prayer and God’s Word.
Spend time in intercessory prayer for your community’s and nation’s leaders, for the world’s unreached millions, for your family or special needs.
Get alone for an unhurried time of “seeking His face.”
Avoid distractions that may dampen your spiritual focus.
Tips on Juice Fasting
Drinking fruit juice will decrease your hunger pains and give you some natural sugar energy.
The best juices are made from fresh watermelon, lemons, grapes, apples, cabbage, beets, carrots, celery, or leafy green vegetables.
In cold weather, you may enjoy a warm vegetable broth.
When your designated time for fasting is finished, you will begin to eat again. But how you break your fast is extremely important for your physical and spiritual well-being.
STEP 6: END YOUR FAST GRADUALLY
Begin eating gradually. Do not eat solid foods immediately after your fast. Suddenly reintroducing solid food to your stomach and digestive tract will likely have negative, even dangerous, consequences. Try several smaller meals or snacks each day. If you end your fast gradually, the beneficial physical and spiritual effects will result in continued good health.
Here are some suggestions to help you end your fast properly:
Break an extended water fast with fruit.
Gradually return to regular eating with several small snacks during the first few days. Start with a little soup and fresh fruit such as watermelon and cantaloupe. Advance to a few tablespoons of solid foods such as raw fruits and vegetables or a raw salad and baked potato.
STEP 7: EXPECT RESULTS
If you sincerely humble yourself before the Lord, repent, pray, and seek God’s face; if you consistently meditate on His Word, you will experience a heightened awareness of His presence (John 14:21). The Lord will give you fresh, new spiritual insights. Your confidence and faith in God will be strengthened. You will feel mentally, spiritually, and physically refreshed. You will see answers to your prayers.